I’m getting very excited about the fast approaching Aussiecon4/Worldcon. It’s going to be massive with loads of cool people and crazy stuff going on. It also turns out that I’m going to be rather busy there. I’ll be running my Write The Fight Right workshop again, which I’m very pleased about. I did this at Conflux last year and it seemed to go down very well.
I’m also going to be on a few panels, doing a signing and a kaffeeklatsch and, bizarrely, helping kids make lightsabers. The full program has been published here, but it’s likely to change a bit right up until the day. Be sure to keep up to date with changes if you’re going. In the meantime, here’s the proposed schedule for myself. It would be great to see any and all at these things, and be sure to come and say hello at some point during the con. It’s always great to meet people in person that I know so well online! (It’s also great to meet people in person that I already know in person, of course, but that should go without saying.)
Thu 1500 Rm 210
Why Australia is more horrifying than anywhere else
Alan Baxter, Will Elliott, Kirstyn McDermott, Chuck McKenzie, Andrew McKiernan
The weather, the reptiles, what it took to get here today—the tallest tales and most salacious facts, for the edification of our overseas guests.
My first engagement of the con and look at the company I’m sharing the panel with! I am not worthy. I did a panel just like this with Paul Haines and others at Continuum earlier this year and it was an interesting subject. It was also covered in an interview Haines and I did for ABC radio. Should be good, especially for scaring the non-Aussies.
Thu 1600 Rm 219
Minotaurs in space helmets: using myth in science fiction
Alan Baxter, Gillian Polack, James Shields
What use are the myths of the world’s cultures to the creation of science fiction? Are there archetypal stories we can draw from to create new worlds and ideas, or are they best suited for re-telling classical stories with a high-tech or otherworldly perspective? A look at what’s been done, who did it best, and why.
I think this one’s going to be a really interesting panel and I’m looking forward to hearing what’s said. I almost wish I was an audience member for this one rather than a panellist. Also, Gillian Polack is threatening to curse me, so it could get messy.
Fri 1000 Rm 209
Light saber making and training
This is something for kids. I’ve never made a lightsaber before, but how hard can it be? (Famous last words.) At least I know swordplay, so I can teach them how to use it, regardless of the build quality!
Friday 1200 Room 204
Kaneda Cruz, Wing Chung, Sean McMullen, Malcolm Davies
This is a panel all about the popularity of martial arts in spec fic, with Q&A and martial art demos. All the people on this panel have had extensive martial arts experience in a variety of disciplines and are also writers or fans.
Fri 1500 Rm 201
I’ll have copies of RealmShift and MageSign with me, so come and buy and copy and have it signed, or bring your copy along and I’ll sign that. Or I’ll sign yours and you can buy a signed copy for someone else… You get the idea.
Sat 1000 Rm 201
These things are pretty cool. Basically, I get to sit in a room and chat with anyone that turns up with a coffee and something to say. I’m not sure anyone will really be interested in hanging out with me, giving all the other cool stuff happening at this con, but I’ll happily chat about writing, martial arts, the price of groceries these days or whatever else you want.
Sat 1200 Rm 217
Write The Fight Right workshop
A workshop designed to look at the things that make a fight scene in a story read as realistically as possible, while maintaining excitement and pace. By looking at the various factors that go into a real fight, paying attention to the things that we train for when we learn to fight, we can write fight scenes that stay exciting without breaking the rules of realism that shatter believability.
I love this workshop. I ran it at Conflux last year and had a ball. Having had nearly 30 years experience as a martial artist, and given that it’s my “day job”, this is one of the few times when I really know what I’m talking about! I discuss how real fighting goes, in order to help people write a fight scene that has real impact without just being a blow by blow recreation of a Hollywood scrap. We pair up occasionally for some practical application practice (all very slow and gentle, of course) to help understand the points and hopefully people go away with a far better understanding of what fighting’s really like. I absolutely love the opportunity this workshop gives me – my two passions in life are martial arts and writing. Here I get to combine them both. It’s doubleplusawesome.
Sat 1500 Rm 210
Crisis of finite publishers
Karen Healey, Alan Baxter, Paul Cornell, James Bacon
Recent years have seen, paradoxically, an increase in the popularity of superheroes through films such as Iron Man and The Dark Knight, and also a continuing shrinking of the US superhero comic industry—led by DC Comics and Marvel. What is the cause of this shrinking market, and what are the possible solutions? Is it possible that this cultural artefact of the 20th century doesn’t have a future any more? With a shrinking market come increased difficulty in creating and launching new characters and fresh titles: what are the best new superhero comics of recent years, and how did they succeed or fail?
I’m sure it’s not news to anyone here that I’m a huge fan of comics. I think this should be a very interesting discussion.
Sat 1600 Rm 210
Tombstones and chapbooks
Alan Baxter, Ginjer Buchanan, Bill Congreve, Ellen Datlow, Felicity Dowker
Is the small press the real home of contemporary horror fiction? If so, what do the blockbusters Under the Dome and Twilight represent?
I’m on a panel with Ellen Datlow! Gah! *faint* Okay, fanboy moments aside, this should be pretty interesting. I’ve talked here before about the rise and rise of the novella through small press and other things like anthologies and limited edition novels and so on. I’m also a small press publisher myself, having published one collection of dark fiction and one single author collection so far (as well as my own novella). I’ll be very interested to hear what other perceptions there are of small press, because I already know that I love it.
Sun 1200 Rm 203
Novellas: the perfect format
Robert Silverberg, Peter M. Ball, Alan Baxter, Keith Stevenson
Shorter than the novel, longer than the short story: the novella (also the novelette) is one of the more difficult lengths of fiction to write and certainly to sell – but it just might be the best format for science fiction there is. A look at the novella, the sorts of stories you can tell within the form, and how it straddles the line between the short story and the novel.
Following my comments above about the Tombstones and chapbooks panel, I see this one as an extension of that. Small press is about the only place to get novellas published these days, but more and more presses are doing it. Coeur De Lion’s X6 novella anthology was one of the best things published recently, for example, and that was edited by Keith Stevenson. Also, Horn by Peter M Ball is going gangbusters, published by small press Twelfth Planet. With both those guys on the panel, I’m sure you’ll hear us sing the praises of the novella. Here’s hoping it gets ever more popular.
Sun 1500 Rm 215
Again, given all that’s happening, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to come and hear me read from my work, but I’ll be very touched if they do. I’m not sure of the timeslot for this or who I’ll share it with, but I’ll read something from RealmShift and/or MageSign, depending on time.
So there you have it. I’m going to be a busy bastard at this con, which is awesome. Now I have to study the program carefully and figure out all the stuff I don’t want to miss and hope that none of it clashes with my own commitments. I love a good con and this one’s going to be mega.